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   Chapter 35 THE GARDEN-HOUSE

By What Authority? By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 30737

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


During that long afternoon the master of the house had sat in his own room, before his table, hearing the ceaseless footsteps and the voices overhead, and the ring of feet on the tiles outside his window, knowing that his friend and priest was somewhere in the house, crouching in some dark little space, listening to the same footsteps and voices as they came and went by his hiding-place, and that he himself was absolutely powerless to help.

He had been overpowered in the first rush as he pealed on the alarm-bell, to which he had rushed when the groom burst in from the stable-yard crying that the outer court was full of men. Lackington had then sent him under guard to his own room, where he had been locked in with an armed constable to prevent any possibility of escape. In the struggle he had received a blow on the head which had completely dazed him; all his resource left him; and he had no desire even to move from his chair.

Now he sat, with his head on his breast, and his mind going the ceaseless round of all the possible places where Anthony might be. Little scenes, too, of startling vividness moved before him, as he sat there with half-closed eyes-scenes of the imagined arrest-the scuffle as the portrait was torn away and Anthony burst out in one last desperate attempt to escape. He saw him under every kind of circumstance-dashing up stairs and being met at the top by a man with a pike-running and crouching through the withdrawing-room itself next door-gliding with burning eyes past the yew-hedges in a rush for the iron gates, only to find them barred-on horseback with his hands bound and a despairing uplifted face with pike-heads about him.-So his friend dreamed miserably on, open-eyed, but between waking and the sleep of exhaustion, until the crowning vision flashed momentarily before his eyes of the scaffold and the cauldron with the fire burning and the low gallows over the heads of the crowd, and the butcher's block and knife; and then he moaned and sat up and stared about him, and the young pursuivant looked at him half-apprehensively.

Towards evening the house grew quieter; once, about six o'clock, there were voices outside, the door from the hall was unlocked, and a heavily-built, ruddy man came in with two pikemen, locking the door behind him. They paid no attention to the prisoner, and he watched them mechanically as they went round the room, running their eyes up and down the panelling, and tapping here and there.

"The room has been searched, sir, already," said the young constable to the ruddy-faced man, who glanced at him and nodded, and then continued the scrutiny. They reached the fireplace and the officer reached up and tapped the wood over the mantelpiece half-a-dozen times.

"Here," he called, pointing to a spot.

A pikeman came up, placed the end of his pike into the oak, and leaned suddenly and heavily upon it: the steel crashed in an inch, and stopped as it met the stonework behind. The officer made a motion, the pike was withdrawn, and he stood on tip-toe and put his finger into the splintered panel. Then he was satisfied and they passed on, still tapping the walls, and went out of the other door, locking it again behind them.

An hour later there were voices and steps again, and a door was unlocked and opened, and Mr. Graves, the Tonbridge magistrate stepped in alone. He was a pale scholarly-looking man with large eyes, and a weak mouth only partly covered by his beard.

"You can go," he said nervously to the constable, "but remain outside." The young man saluted him and passed out.

The magistrate looked quickly and sideways at Mr. Buxton as he sat and looked at him.

"I am come to tell you," he said, "that we cannot find the priest." He hesitated and stopped. "We have found several hiding-holes," he went on, "and they are all empty. I-I hope there is no mistake."

A little thrill ran through the man who sat in the chair; the lethargy began to clear from his brain, like a morning mist when a breeze rises; he sat a little more upright and gripped the arms of his chair; he said nothing yet, but he felt power and resource flowing back to his brain, and the pulse in his temples quieted. Why, if the lad had not been taken yet, he must surely be out of the house.

"I trust there is no mistake," said the magistrate again nervously.

"You may well trust so," said the other; "it will be a grievous thing for you, sir, otherwise."

"Indeed, Mr. Buxton, I think you know I am no bigot. I was sent for by Mr. Lackington last night. I could not refuse. It was not my wish--"

"Yet you have issued your warrant, and are here in person to execute it. May I inquire how many of my cupboards you have broken into? And I hope your men are satisfied with my plate."

"Indeed, sir," said the magistrate, "there has been nothing of that kind. And as for the cupboards, there were but three--"

Three!-then the lad is out of the house, thought the other. But where?

"And I trust you have not spared to break down my servants' rooms, and the stables as well as pierce all my panelling."

"There was no need to search the stables, Mr. Buxton; our men were round the house before we entered. They have been watching the entrances since eight o'clock last night."

Mr. Buxton felt bewildered. His instinct had been right, then, the night before.

"The party was followed from near Wrotham," went on the magistrate. "The priest was with them then; and, we suppose, entered the house."

"You suppose!" snapped the other. "What the devil do you mean by supposing? You have looked everywhere and cannot find him?"

The magistrate shrugged his shoulders deprecatingly, as he stood and stared at the angry man.

"And the roofs?" added Mr. Buxton sneeringly.

"They have been thoroughly searched."

Then there is but one possible theory, he reflected. The lad is in the garden-house. And what if they search that?

"Then may I ask what you propose to destroy next, Mr. Graves?"

He saw that this tone was having its effect on the magistrate, who was but a half-hearted persecutor, with but feeble convictions and will, as he knew of old.

"I-I entreat you not to speak to me like that, sir," he said. "I have but done my duty."

Then the other rose from his chair, and his eyes were stern and bright again and his lips tight.

"Your duty, sir, seems a strange matter, when it leads you to break into a friend's house, assault him and his servants and his guests, and destroy his furniture, in search of a supposed priest whom you have never even seen. Now, sir, if this matter comes to her Grace's ears, I will not answer for the consequences; for you know Mistress Corbet, her lady-in-waiting, is one of my guests.-And, speaking of that, where are my guests?"

"The two ladies, Mr. Buxton, are safe and sound upstairs, I assure you."

The magistrate's voice was trembling.

"Well, sir, I have one condition to offer you. Either you and your men withdraw within half an hour from my house and grounds, and leave me and my two guests to ourselves, or else I lay the whole matter, through Mistress Corbet, before her Grace." Mr. Buxton beat his hand once on the table as he ended, and looked with a contemptuous inquiry at the magistrate.

But the worm writhed up at the heel.

"How can you talk like this, sir," he burst out, "as if you had but two guests?"

"Two guests? I do not understand you. How should there be more?"

"Then for whom are the four places laid at table?" he answered indignantly.

Mr. Buxton felt a sudden desperate sinking, and he could not answer for a moment. The magistrate passed his shaking hand over his mouth and beard once or twice; but the thrust had gone home, and there was no parry or riposte. He followed it up.

"Now, sir, be reasonable. I came in here to make terms. We know the priest has been here. It is certain beyond all question. All that is uncertain is whether he is here now or escaped. We have searched thoroughly; we must search again to-morrow; but in the meanwhile, while you yourself must be under restraint, your guests shall have what liberty they wish; and you yourself shall have all reasonable comfort and ease. So-so, if we do not find the priest, I trust that you and-and-Mistress Corbet will agree to overlook any rashness on my part-and-and let her Grace remain in ignorance."

Mr. Buxton had been thinking furiously during this little speech. He saw the mistake he had made in taking the high line, and his wretched forgetfulness of the fourth place at table. He must make terms, though it tasted bitter.

"Well, Mr. Graves," he said, "I have no wish to be hard upon you. All I ask is to be out of the house when the search is made, and that the ladies shall come and go as they please."

The magistrate leapt at the lure like a trout.

"Yes, yes, Mr. Buxton, it shall be as you say. And to what house will you retire?"

Mr. Buxton appeared to reflect; he tapped on the table with a meditative finger and looked at the ceiling.

"It must not be too far away," he said slowly, "and-and the Rector would scarce like to receive me. Perhaps in-or--Why not my summer-house?" he added suddenly.

Mr. Graves' face was irradiated with smiles.

"Thank you, Mr. Buxton, certainly, it shall be as you say. And where is the summer-house?"

"It is across the garden," said the other carelessly. "I wonder you have not searched it in your zeal."

"Shall I send a man to prepare it?" asked the magistrate eagerly. "Will you go there to-night?"

"Well, shall we go across there together now? I give you my parole," he added, smiling, and standing up.

"Indeed,-as you wish. I cannot tell you, sir, how grateful I am. You have made my duty almost a pleasure, sir."

They went out together into the hall, Mr. Buxton carrying the key of the garden-house that he had taken from the drawer of his table; he glanced ruefully at the wrecked furniture and floor, and his eyes twinkled for a moment as they rested on the four places at table still undisturbed, and then met the magistrate's sidelong look. The men were still at the doors, resting now on chairs or leaning against the wall, with their weapons beside them; it was weary work this mounting sentry and losing the hunt, and their faces showed it. The two passed out together into the garden, and began to walk up the path that led straight across the avenue to where the high vanes of the garden-house stood up grotesque and towering against the evening sky, above the black yew-hedges.

All the while they went Mr. Buxton was thinking out his plan. It was still incoherent; but, at any rate, it was a step gained to be able to communicate with Anthony again; and at least the poor lad should have some supper. And then he smiled to himself with relief as he saw what an improvement there had been in the situation as it had appeared to him an hour ago. Why, they would search the house again next day; find no one, and retire apologising. His occupancy of the garden-house with the magistrate's full consent would surely secure it from search; and he was not so well satisfied with the disguised entrance to the passage at this end as with that in the cellar.

They reached the door at last. There were three steps going up to it, and Mr. Buxton went up them, making a good deal of noise as he did so, to ensure Anthony's hearing him should he be above ground. Then, as if with great difficulty, he unlocked the door, rattling it, and clicking sharply with his tongue at its stiffness.

"You see, Mr. Graves." he said, rather loud, as he opened the door a little, "my prison will not be a narrow one." He threw the door open, gave a glance round, and was satisfied. The targets leaned against one wall, and two rows of flower-pots stood in the corner near where the window opened into the lane, but there was no sign of occupation. Mr. Buxton went across, threw the window open and looked out. There was a steel cap three or four feet below, and a pike-head; and at the sound of the latch a bearded face looked up.

"I see you have a sentry there," said Mr. Buxton carelessly.

"Ah! that is one of Mr. Maxwell's men."

"Mr. Maxwell's!" said the other, startled. "Is he in this affair too?"

"Yes; have you not heard? He came from Great Keynes this morning. Mr. Lackington sent for him."

Mr. Buxton's face grew dark.

"Ah yes, I see-a pretty revenge."

The magistrate was on the point of asking an explanation, for he felt on the best of terms again now with his prisoner, when there were footsteps outside and voices; and there stood four constables, with Nichol, Hubert Maxwell and Lackington in furious debate coming up the path behind.

They looked up suddenly, and saw the door open and the magistrate and his prisoner standing in the opening. The four constables stood waiting for further orders while their three chiefs came up.

"Now, now, now!" said Mr. Graves peevishly, "what is all this?"

"We have come to search this house, sir," said Nichol cheerfully.

"See here, sir," said Hubert, "have you given orders for this?"

"Enough, enough," said Lackington coolly. "Search, men."

The pursuivants advanced to the steps. Then Mr. Buxton turned fiercely on them all.

"See here!" he cried, and his voice rang out across the garden. "You bring me here, Mr. Graves, promising me a little peace and quietness, after your violent and unwarranted attack upon my house to-day. I have been patient and submissive to all suggestions; I leave my entire house at your disposal; I promise to lay no complaints before her Grace, so long as you will let me retire here till it is over-and now your men persecute me even here. Have you no mind of your own, sir?" he shouted.

"Really, sir--" began Hubert.

"And as for you, Mr. Maxwell," went on the other fiercely, "are you not content with your triumph so far? Cannot you leave me one corner to myself, or would your revenge be not full enough for you, then?"

"You mistake me, sir," said Hubert, making a violent effort to control himself; "I am on your side in this matter."

"That is what I am beginning to think," said Lackington insolently.

"You think!" roared Mr. Buxton; "and who the devil are you?"

"See here, gentlemen," said Mr. Nichol, "what is the dispute? Here is an empty house, Mr. Buxton tells us; and Mr. Maxwell tells us the same. Well, then, let these honest fellows run through the empty house; it will not take ten minutes, and Mr. Buxton and his friend can take the air meanwhile. A-God's name, let us not dispute over a trifle."

"Then, a-God's name, let me go to my own house," bellowed Mr. Buxton, "and these gentlemen can have the empty house to disport themselves in till doomsday-or till her Grace looks into the matter"; and he made a motion to run down the steps, but his heart sank. Mr. Graves put out a deprecating hand and touched his arm; and Mr. Buxton very readily turned at once with a choleric face!

"No, no, no!" cried the magistrate. "These gentlemen are here on my warrant, and they shall not search the place. Mr. Buxton, I entreat you not to be hasty. Come back, sir."

Mr. Buxton briskly reascended.

"Well, then, Mr. Graves, I entreat you to give your orders, and let your will be known. I am getting hungry for my supper, too, sir. I

t is already an hour past my time."

"Sup in the house, sir," said Mr. Nichol smoothly, "and we shall have done by then."

Then Hubert blazed up; he took a step forward.

"Now, you fellow," he said to Nichol, "hold your damned tongue. Mr. Graves and I are the magistrates here, and we say that this gentleman shall sup and sleep here in peace, so you may take your pursuivants elsewhere."

Lackington looked up with a smile.

"No, Mr. Maxwell, I cannot do that. These men are under my orders, and I shall leave two of them here and send another to keep your fellow company at the back, We will not disturb Mr. Buxton further to-night; but to-morrow we shall see."

Mr. Buxton paid no sort of further attention to him, but turned to the magistrates.

"Well, gentlemen, what is your decision?"

"You shall sleep here in peace, sir," said Mr. Graves resolutely. "I can promise nothing for to-morrow."

"Then will you kindly allow one of my men to bring me supper and a couch of some kind, and I shall be obliged if the ladies may sup with me."

"That they shall," assented Mr. Graves. "Mr. Maxwell, will you escort them here?"

Hubert, who was turning away, nodded and disappeared round the yew-hedge. Lackington, who had been talking in an undertone to the pursuivants, now went up another alley with one of them and Mr. Nichol, and disappeared too in the gathering gloom of the garden. The other two pursuivants separated and each moved a few steps off and remained just out of sight. Plainly they were to remain on guard. Mr. Buxton and the magistrate sat down on a couple of garden-chairs.

"That is an obstinate fellow, sir," said Mr. Graves.

"They are certainly both of them very offensive fellows, sir. I was astonished at your indulgence towards them."

The magistrate was charmed by this view of the case, and remained talking with Mr. Buxton until footsteps again were heard, and the two ladies appeared, with Hubert with them, and a couple of men carrying each a tray and the other necessaries he had asked for.

Mr. Buxton and the magistrate rose to meet the ladies and bowed.

"I cannot tell you," began their host elaborately, "what distress all this affair has given me. I trust you will forgive any inconvenience you may have suffered."

Both Isabel and Mary looked white and strained, but they responded gallantly; and as the table was being prepared the four talked almost as if there were no bitter suspense at three of their hearts at least. Mr. Graves was nervous and uneasy, but did his utmost to propitiate Mary. At last he was on the point of withdrawing, when Mr. Buxton entreated him to sup with them.

"I must not," he said; "I am responsible for your property, Mr. Buxton."

"Then I understand that these ladies may come and go as they please?" he asked carelessly.

"Certainly, sir."

"Then may I ask too the favour that you will place one of your own men at the door who can conduct them to the house when they wish to go, and who can remain and protect me too from any disturbance from either of the two officious persons who were here just now?"

Mr. Graves, delighted at this restored confidence, promised to do so, and took an elaborate leave; and the three sat down to supper; the door was left open, and they could see through it the garden, over which veil after veil of darkness was beginning to fall. The servants had lighted two tapers, and the inside of the great room with its queer furniture of targets and flower-pots was plainly visible to any walking outside. Once or twice the figure of a man crossed the strip of light that lay across the gravel.

It was a strange supper. They said innocent things to one another in a tone loud enough for any to hear who cared to be listening, about the annoyance of it all, the useless damage that had been done, the warmth of the summer night, and the like, and spoke in low soundless sentences of what was in all their hearts.

"That red-faced fellow," said Mary, "would be the better of some manners. (He is in the passage below, I suppose.)"

"It is scarce an ennobling life-that of a manhunter," said Mr. Buxton. ("Yes. I am sure of it.")

"They have broken your little cupboard, I fear." said Mary again. ("Tell me your plan, if you have one.")

And so step by step a plan was built up. It had been maturing in Mr. Buxton's mind gradually after he had learnt the ladies might sup with him; and little by little he conveyed it to them. He managed to write down the outline of it as he sat at table, and then passed it to each to read, and commented on it and answered their questions about it, all in the same noiseless undertone, with his lips indeed scarcely moving. There were many additions and alterations made in it as the two ladies worked upon it too, but by the time supper was over it was tolerably complete. It seemed, indeed, almost desperate, but the case was desperate. It was certain that the garden-house would be searched next day; Lackington's suspicions were plainly roused, and it was too much to hope that searchers who had found three hiding-places in one afternoon would fail to find a fourth. It appeared then that it was this plan or none.

They supped slowly, in order to give time to think out and work out the scheme, and to foresee any difficulties beyond those they had already counted on; and it was fully half-past nine before the two ladies rose. Their host went with them to the door, called up Mr. Graves' man, and watched them pass down the path out of sight. He stood a minute or two longer looking across towards the house at the dusky shapes in the garden and the strip of gravel, grass, and yew that was illuminated from his open door. Then he spoke to the men that he knew were just out of sight.

"I am going to bed presently. Kindly do not disturb me." There was no answer; and he closed the two high doors and bolted them securely.

He dared not yet do what he wished, for fear of arousing suspicion, so he went to the other window and looked out into the lane. He could just make out the glimmer of steel on the opposite bank.

"Good-night, my man," he called out cheerfully.

Again there was no answer. There was something sinister in these watching presences that would not speak, and his heart sank a little as he put-to the window without closing it. He went next to the pile of rugs and pillows that his men had brought across, and arranged them in the corner, just clear of the trap-door. Then he knelt and said his evening prayers, and here at least was no acting. Then he rose again and took off his doublet and ruff and shoes so that he was dressed only in a shirt, trunks and hose. Then he went across to the supper-table, where the tapers still burned, and blew them out, leaving the room in complete darkness. Then he went back to his bed, and sat and listened.

Up to this point he had been aware that probably at least one pair of eyes had been watching him; for, although the windows were of bottle-end glass, yet it was exceedingly likely that there would be some clear glass in them; and, with the tapers burning inside, his movements would all have been visible to either of Lackington's men who cared to put his eye to the window. But now he was invisible. Yet, as he thought of it, he slipped on his doublet again to hide the possible glimmer of his white shirt. There was the silence of the summer night about him-the silence only emphasised by its faint sounds. The house was quiet across the garden, though once or twice he thought he heard a horse stamp. Once there came a little stifled cough from outside his window; there was the silky rustle of the faint breeze in the trees outside; and now and again came the snoring of a young owl in the ivy somewhere overhead.

He counted five hundred deliberately, to compel himself to wait; and meanwhile his sub-conscious self laboured at the scheme. Then he glanced this way and that with wide eyes; his ears sang with intentness of listening. Then, very softly he shifted his position, and found with his fingers the ring that lifted the trap-door above the stairs.

There was no concealment about this, and without any difficulty he lifted the door with his right hand and leaned it against the wall; then he looked round again and listened. From below came up the damp earthy breath of the basement, and he heard a rat scamper suddenly to shelter. Then he lifted his feet from the rugs and dropped them noiselessly on the stairs, and supporting himself by his hands on the floor went down a step or two. Then a stair creaked under his weight; and he stopped in an agony, hearing only the mad throbbing in his own ears. But all was silent outside. And so step by step he descended into the cool darkness. He hesitated as to whether he should close the trap-door or not, there was a risk either way; but he decided to do so, as he would be obliged to make some noise in opening the secret doors and communicating with Anthony. At last his feet touched the earth floor, and he turned as he sat and counted the steps-the fourth, the fifth, and tapped upon it. There was no answer; he put his lips to it and whispered sharply:

"Anthony, Anthony, dear lad."

Still there was no answer. Then he lifted the lid, and managed to hold the woodwork below, as he knelt on the third step, so that it descended noiselessly. He put out his other hand and felt the boards. Anthony had retired into the passage then, he told himself, as he found the space empty. He climbed into the hole, pushed himself along and counted the bricks-the fourth of the fourth-pressed it, and pushed at the door; and it was fast.

For the first time a horrible spasm of terror seized him. Had he forgotten? or was it all a mistake, and Anthony not there? He turned in his place, put his shoulders against the door and his feet against the woodwork of the stairs, and pushed steadily; there were one or two loud creaks, and the door began to yield. Then he knew Anthony was there; a rush of relief came into his heart-and he turned and whispered again.

"Anthony, dear lad, Anthony, open quickly; it is I."

The brickwork slid back and a hand touched his face out of the pitch darkness of the tunnel.

"Who is it? Is it you?" came a whisper.

"It is I, yes. Thank God you are here. I feared--"

"How could I tell?" came the whisper again. "But what is the news? Are you escaped?"

"No, I am a prisoner, and on parole. But there is no time for that. You must escape-we have a plan-but there is not much time."

"Why should I not remain here?"

"They will search to-morrow-and-and this end of the tunnel is not so well concealed as the other. They would find you. They suspect you are here, and there are guards round this place."

There was a movement in the dark.

"Then why think--" began the whisper.

"No, no, we have a plan. Mary and Isabel approve. Listen carefully. There is but one guard at the back here, in the lane. Mary has leave to come and go now as she pleases-they are afraid of her; she will leave the house in a few minutes now to ride to East Maskells, with two grooms and a maid behind one of them. She will ride her own horse. When she has passed the inn she will bid the groom who has the maid to wait for her, while she rides down the lane with the other, Robert, to speak to me through the window. The pursuivant, we suppose, will not forbid that, as he knows they have supped with me just now. As we talk, Robert will watch his chance and spring on the pursuivant. As soon as the struggle begins you will drop from the window; it is but eight feet; and help him to secure the man and gag him. However much din they make the others cannot reach the man in time to help, for they will have to come round from the house, and you will have mounted Robert's horse; and you and Mary together will gallop down the lane into the road, and then where you will. We advise East Maskells. I do not suppose there will be any pursuit. They will have no horses ready. Do you understand it?"

There was silence a moment; Mr. Buxton could hear Anthony breathing in the darkness.

"I do not like it," came the whisper at last; "it seems desperate. A hundred things may happen. And what of Isabel and you?"

"Dear friend; I know it is desperate, but not so desperate as your remaining here would be for us all."

Again there was silence.

"What of Robert? How will he escape?"

"If you escape they will have nothing against Robert; for they can prove nothing as to your priesthood. But if they catch you here-and they certainly will, if you remain here-they will probably hang him, for he fought for you gallantly in the house. And he too will have time to run. He can run through the door into the meadows. But they will not care for him if they know you are off."

Again silence.

"Well?" whispered Mr. Buxton.

"Do you wish it?"

"I think it is the only hope."

"Then I will do it."

"Thank God! And now you must come up with me. Put off your shoes."

"I have none."

"Then follow, and do not make a sound."

* * *

Very cautiously Mr. Buxton extricated himself; for he had been lying on his side while he whispered to Anthony; and presently was crouched on the stairs above, as he heard the stirrings of his friend in the dark below him. There came the click of the brickwork door; then slow shufflings; once a thump on the hollow boards that made his heart leap; then after what seemed an interminable while, came the sound of latching the fifth stair into its place; and he felt his foot grasped. Then he turned and ascended slowly on hands and knees, feeling now and again for the trap-door over him-touched it-raised it, and crawled out on to the rugs. The room seemed to him comparatively light after the heavy darkness of the basement, and passage below, and he could make out the supper-table and the outline of the targets on the opposite wall. Then he saw a head follow him; then shoulders and body; and Anthony crept out and sat on the rugs beside him. Their hands met in a trembling grip.

"Supper, dear lad?" whispered Mr. Buxton, with his mouth to the other's ear.

"Yes, I am hungry," came the faintest whisper back.

Mr. Buxton rose and went on tip-toe to the table, took off some food and a glass of wine that he had left purposely filled and came back with them.

There the two friends sat; Mr. Buxton could just hear the movement of Anthony's mouth as he ate. The four windows glimmered palely before them, and once or twice the tall doors rattled faintly as the breeze stirred them.

Then suddenly came a sound that made Anthony's hand pause on the way to his mouth; Mr. Buxton drew a sharp breath; it was the noise of three or four horses on the road beyond the church. Then they both stood up without a word, and Mr. Buxton went noiselessly across to the window that looked on to the lane and remained there, listening. The horses were now passing down the street, and the noise of their hoofs grew fainter behind the houses.

Anthony saw his friend in the twilight beckon, and he went across and stood by him. Suddenly the hoofs sounded loud and near; and they heard the pursuivant below stand up from the bank opposite. Then Mary's voice came distinct and cheerful.

"How dark it is!"

The horses were coming down the lane.

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